As Scotiabank’s premier technology new graduate program, Ignition is a steppingstone for careers in DevOps, Software Development, Agile Management, Design Thinking, and Business Analysis, to name a few. I sat down with the program’s Manager, Jessica to learn a bit more about the unprecedented work-integrated-learning program and why she’s so passionate about it!

Jordan: Thanks for sitting down with me today! I know September is really busy for your team. We know each other pretty well, but why don’t you share with the readers a little bit about yourself?

Jessica: Hi everyone! My name is Jessica Mckenzie and I manage the Ignition Program, which focuses on developing top tech talent at Scotiabank. I’m passionate about attracting and developing individuals who see themselves solving real-life business and technology challenges in Canada and around the world. On my days off, you can find me attending hackathons with my team (and puppy) or browsing Reddit for the latest technology trends.

Jordan: It’s true. Her puppy was at HackWestern amongst other hackathons last year! So, tell me about the program, some of its unique features, and why it was developed.

Jessica: We find that students and new graduates come into the Bank with fresh and innovative ideas. They aren’t afraid to share different learnings or viewpoints with our teams across Technology. At a 188-year-old bank, we look for diverse skillsets and individuals with new ways of thinking. These team members keep us competitive and enable us to provide the best products and services for our customers.

Once we attract the best talent, how do we retain them? Our TILT (Talent Incubator for Leaders of Tomorrow) Program provides a holistic experience for new grads that focuses on mentorship and development opportunities while building a sense of community across our programs. In the Ignition Program, we offer Associates multitier mentorship which includes an executive mentor. Imagine having a Senior Vice President as your guide for the duration of the program! Another unique feature of the program focuses on curated learning and development curriculums which include leadership and technical skill building from virtual resources to in-person subject matter experts.

Jordan: After that answer I feel like I don’t even need to ask the next question, but why would a student want to join this program?

Jessica: There seems to be an ongoing expectation of graduates that they must know exactly what career they want. As someone who was once a student, I understand this is not always the case. The Ignition Program allows the flexibility to try different roles in different teams across Technology, all while gaining top soft and technical skills needed to be successful. You’ll have the opportunity to experience different roles so you can better understand where you want to build your career long-term.

Jordan: What a great opportunity to explore different career options. What type of student would do well in this program?

Jessica: Our TILT programming focuses on three main attributes; attitude, ownership, and opportunity (AOO). Be open to taking new opportunities even when it makes us uncomfortable. Take ownership and be proud of the impact you are creating while keeping a smile on your face.

For Ignition, not only do we love an individual that exudes AOO, but we also look for individuals who are curious, adaptable, and that have or are eager to learn technical skills.

Jordan: I know you mentioned a few career paths previously, but what kind of career could this program lead to?

Jessica: The opportunities at Scotiabank are endless. Within Technology, we’ve had Associates graduate as Software Developers, Engineers, Analysts, Scrum Masters... the list goes on. We have Associates using the skills they built throughout their experience in the program to make a large impact within their Canadian teams while contributing to projects in Latin America. As the Program Manager, it is my job to work with Associates in finding a career that suits them best.

Jordan: And lastly, if you had one piece of advice for students what would it be?

Jessica: This is such an exciting time for students as they are searching for career opportunities. My advice would be to break out of your comfort zone, network, and create strategic relationships, and don’t be afraid of opportunity. Remember that opportunities happen to people who chase them.

Interested in joining the Ignition: Technology New Graduate Program? Click here to learn more!